On the week of the Solemnity of Orthodoxy, not all dioceses of the canonical Church held traditional processions because of the difficult epidemiological situation in connection with the ongoing pandemic coronavirus
However, the Orthodox have promised to hold the processions as soon as the sanitary restrictions are lifted. And now that time has come. Since mid-June, the entire Orthodox Church in Ukraine has been engaged in processions that have taken place in many, if not all, of the dioceses of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
On June 19 after a prayer service at the Pokrovsky Cathedral of the city of Akhtyrka of Sumy region there was a procession with the wonderworking Akhtyrsk icon of the Theotokos to the Holy Trinity Monastery. Here the crusaders were met by Metropolitan Evlogii of Sumy and Akhtyrsk. The miraculous image was taken around the monastery and placed in the temple. Then the all-night vigil of the feast began.
On June 22 in the city of Uman, Cherkassy oblast a traditional procession honoured the memory of new martyrs and confessors of Uman land. After the service in St. Nicholas Cathedral, the clergy and laity, led by Metropolitan Panteleimon marched through the city streets with church hymns to the district department of the National Police, where in the early twentieth century there was a prison, which became a place of confession and martyrdom of hundreds of believers. A moleben was served at the memorial cross and a funeral service was conducted.
On June 23rd a traditional procession with the miracle-working Kasper icon of the Most Holy Mother of God had taken place through the streets of Kherson. The procession from the Holy Spirit Cathedral to the Church of All Saints was led by Metropolitan John of Kherson and Tauride and Metropolitan Filaret of Novokhovo and Henichesk. As well as clergy of Kherson and Novokahivska dioceses of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate. And, of course, hundreds of worshipers. At the end of the procession the Kaspersky image was carried over the heads of kneeling believers. This is also an orthodox tradition.
On the same day a religious procession passed through the streets of the city of Nizhyn of Chernigov region. The holy relics of St. John, Metropolitan of Tobolsk, Chernigov and Nizhyn, a miracle worker, a native of Nizhyn, were the main relics. This saint is known for his book “Iliotropion”, or “Sunflower”. This is a handbook for every Orthodox man, telling how to live according to God’s will. And in a very accessible form, despite the fact that it was written almost three centuries ago. However, the prayer for peace in Ukraine and its God-loving people has caused an attack of the real madness of the local nationalists – the adherents of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. They attacked the worshipers, armed not only with the Bandera black-red and state blue-yellow flags, but also with the star-spangled flags of the USA. They shouted profanities and threw pig’s hooves and excrement at icons. Believers were beaten up. At the same time, one of the radicals took the opportunity to steal a priestly cross. However, the completely insane provocation of the dissenters did not stop the prayer procession.
On June 26, the traditional procession with a copy of the Pryazhev Icon of the Mother of God was held in the village of Myropillya in the Sumy Region. This year, it was held for the 19th time. The tradition was established in pre-revolutionary times, and was revived in 2003. The procession united two monasteries of Myropolye in Ukraine and Gornal in Russia, from where a procession of the miracle-working Pryazhevskaya Icon of the Mother of God – one of the revered relics of the Kursk Land – was brought to Myropolye, and then after a prayer service it returned home. This procession was the only one held across the state border of Russia. However, the last joint procession of the two border dioceses took place in 2014.
“Today such a procession is not possible, but the people of Myropolis have not abandoned their pious tradition of honouring the miraculous shrine with a procession of the Cross with prayers for peace in Ukraine and overcoming discord between people”, – the press service of the Sumy diocese said in a statement
On 28 June, a procession with the miraculous Peschan icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary took place in the town of Izyum. Pilgrims from many cities of Slobozhanshchina came to the Ascension Cathedral to take part in the prayer procession. Metropolitan of Izyum and Kupyansky Yelisey, clerics of the cathedral, Svyato-Peschansky monastery brotherhood, clergy of Izyum parish and other districts of the diocese took part in the religious procession. This procession consists of two parts. First the procession goes from Ascension Cathedral to the Transfiguration Church and then from there to the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross. The second part took place on the 4th of July.
“The Moscow Patriarchate’s crusades and show of force” was the name given to the crusades held by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate during the Week of the Triumph of Orthodoxy by the pro-Fanar media. The Fanar-controlled dissenters, who call themselves the PCU, although they have nothing to do with Orthodoxy, have also spoken out on the subject. Thus, the speaker of this organization, “archbishop” Evstratii Zorya, in an interview said that religious processions by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate are a collaboration with an aggressor aimed at undermining the statehood of Ukraine. Another high-ranking bishop, also “archbishop”, but already Kharkiv and Izyum Athanasiy Shkurupiy expressed himself without much choice of words: “Such ‘moves’ should be harshly dispersed, so that there is no more desire to act on the side of the enemy…” So says the sin of malice and envy.
And on July 6, the traditional procession was held in the Vinnitsa region. According to the diocesan press service, Metropolitan Varsonofy, ruling bishop of the Vinnitsa diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, joined Metropolitan Ionafan of Tulchin and Bratslav and Metropolitan Agapit of Mogilev-Podolsk and Sharhorod in the prayer procession and the Divine Liturgy. The Orthodox of the three dioceses of Vinnytsia oblast – about 2 thousand processionists walked from the Church of Saint Paraskeva Srpska to the miracle-working Kalyniv Cross. Here, in the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross, a Divine Liturgy was celebrated, which was presided over by Metropolitan Ionathan of Tulchyn and Bratslav. A solemn prayer was held near the miraculous cross.
The miracle of the Kalinovsky Cross had happened on 7 July 1923. One of the drunken soldiers passing by opened fire with a rifle at the cross and fired until he hit the right shoulder of the Saviour on the crucifixion. As soon as this happened, blood flowed from there. It flowed non-stop for a long time, rumors about the miracle spread around and the cross became a pilgrimage site for believers from all over Ukraine, their number reached 25 thousand on some days….
On July 8 in the diocese of Odesa there was established a tradition of another cross procession “from St. Vladimir to Tikhvin”. A solemn procession with the miraculous image of Our Lady of Kaspersky and the icon of the holy apostles with fragments of their relics marched from the Church of St. Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God of Odessa to the Pokrovsky skete of the Holy Dormition Patriarchal Monastery of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in the village of Marynovka. Along the way pilgrims joined the procession not only from Odessa region, but also from Krivoy Rog, Nikopol, Bila Tserkva, Uman, Vinnitsa and other regions of Ukraine. All together there were gathered more than 10 thousand pilgrims, who passed 37 km in 11.5 hours. On July 9 in Pokrovsk skete was held the Divine Liturgy in honor of the feast of the Tikhvin icon of the Blessed Virgin, which was headed by Metropolitan Agafangel. It was attended by all the crusaders.
The Cross Procession from Chernivtsi to the village of Khreshchatyk, 40 km long, covered the distance to the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist, which is celebrated on 7 July.
On 11 July, on the Feast of the Icon of the Mother of God “Troeruchitsa”, a procession with prayers for peace in Ukraine and for deliverance from the pandemic coronavirus took place around the town of Severodonetsk.
At night from 12 to 13 July hundreds of believers marched in procession from Uzhgorod to the Dombok Nunnery. The procession was dedicated to the transfer of the icon of the Most Holy Mother of God “Our Lady of Sorrows” to Transcarpathia.
The procession in memory of the Venerable Amphilochios of Pochaev took place in Ternopil region on July 13. The Orthodox went from the city of Shumsk and came to the village of Malaya Ilovitsa – the birthplace of the Reverend. The faithful traveled more than 17 km.
The days-long procession with the miraculous icon of the Theotokos “Look down on meekness” is traditionally held from 13th to 18th of July in Kyiv region. This year is no exception. The route is 50 km. It goes from the church of Archistratigus Michael in the village of Belogorodka to the Rizopolozhenskiy hermitage of the Kiev Vvedensky monastery in the village Tomashovka. The prayer procession is dedicated to the main feast of the monastery hermitage – the Deposition of the Robe of the Mother of God in Vlaherna. It is one of the most crowded processions in Kyiv region, in which the faithful from different parts of Ukraine and other countries take part.
Now the Orthodox people of Ukraine are waiting for the traditional procession, which will be held in Kiev on 27 July.
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